Since I was talking about the wonderful Manhattan Cafe and I mentioned the Majestic Theater, I must report about the great experience of the some of the other San Antonio Theaters I experienced as I grew up. They were the Texas, Majestic, Aztec and Empire Theaters.
I loved the Aztec Theater (104 N.St Mary's) which opened in the year1926. It was decorated with vibrantly-colored columns, sculptures, furnishings and murals many of which are authentic reproductions of the Meso-American artifacts. Get this: hanging in front of the stage is the original fire screen, a painting depicting the meeting of the Aztec ruler Montezuma II and Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in 1519! Unfortunately by the 1970's he Aztec was in decline. It was cut into three auditoriums and named the Aztec Triplex, but closed in 1989. In later years, it was restored and reopened as a venue for musical acts.
The Alameda (318 W. Houston) built in 1949, is an Art Deco building with an 86 ft. high marquee. The Alameda was the largest movie palace ever dedicated to Spanish language films and the performing arts. Singing cowboy Gene Autry was a surprise guest at the opening and he sang a popular ballad in Spanish. Many Latin performers appeared at the Alameda, including the great Cantinflas.
The Texas Theater was a great theater too, I saw the movie Hard Days Night staring the Beatles and it was a very interesting day. The screams were so loud that the movie was very hard to hear. I also recall seeing the original King Kong movie with Fay Wray and as I came out of the theater and saw the Transit Tower that looked a lot like the New York's Empire State Building on a smaller scale. I thought to myself that that was the building that King Kong had climbed in the movie. Bear in mind that I was about 5 years old when my sister took me to see that one.
Man, there is nothing like reliving your childhood memories. It is just great!